GL2 ski video 1st impressions at DVinfo.net

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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.


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Old January 11th, 2004, 11:24 AM   #1
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GL2 ski video 1st impressions

Just viewed on a projected screen the first 40 minutes captured with my new GL2. WOW!

Image stabilization is spectacular, very steady considering I was skiing while taking the video and even occasionally skating on skis, can't wait to try my old steadicam jr. Did not need to hurl chunks while viewing on 8 foot screen.

Image quality of lens and color saturation with 3CCD's also spectacular, a quantum leap better than my previous Canon Optura 1 (about 5 years old).

Extremely handy to have controls on handle for shooting while skiing, much more stable position for one or two handed operation. Works even wearing gloves, though I inadvertantly switched on the lock button and missed a few minutes of filming til I figured out what I did (user error). Lower angle improves the backround immensly (trees, mountains, blue skies) compared to shooting from a higher angle where the background is primarily white snow.

"Sand and snow" setting was quite good in the sun, but color balance too blue when in the shade, I guess I will need to learn how to manual color balance while skiing on the fly. Unfortunately on a ski mountain the light changes frequently as the subject is moving, frequently from sun to shade or as clouds block the sunlight. Since these are all spontaneous shots, really very little ability to control lighting variables. Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated.

Auto focus seems to work very well, not too much searching. I will watch again looking at f-stop camera chose (suspect small f-stop was used as it was very bright most of the time). Will be interested to see performance when I narrow the depth of field with neutal density filter and polarizing filter or when it is snowing.

Rycote windscreen combined with electronic windscreen was very good at eliminating wind noise at slow to moderate ski speeds. I did not shoot any high speed footage this week. I will try without electronic windscreen to improve dynamic range next week as suggested to me by Ken Tanaka in a previous post.

The audio issues seem to be the most difficult obstacle to overcome. The quality of the audio is far superior to any of the other 5 cnmsumer camcorders I have previously owned over the past 15 years. Was able to capture the majority of the dialog very well. Biggest issue will be to try to eliminate the noise of my own skis on the snow. Again any helpful suggestions appreciated.
I will try to pick up a Canon DM-50 from local vendor this week to see if shotgun (hyper cardioid) mic helps with this. If so then may want to invest in a more sophisticaed shotgun mic. Otherwise remote wireless lavs may be the answer, but more complicated than I really want to deal with on this project especially as I am sometimes trying to capture the voices of multiple persons skiing in a group.

I had difficulty viewing what I was shooting in the bright light using LCD while skiing. Tried to play with the brightness adjustment of the LCD but it did not make much difference. Tried the supersized eyecup for the viewfinder which was OK when I had the viewfinder to my eye (also need to wear sunglasses in this environment) but can't really have my head too close to the camera while skiiing. Any suggestions?

The ability to start tape with color bars is an extra bonus for calibration during playback and to be sure everything is calibrated and setup properly.

BP-915 Battery life was also better than expected although it was not super cold yesterday.

Overall love the image quality, flexibility, and ability to control the variables with this camera. Overall learning curve pretty easy if you have used camcorders previously. Probably helps that the last two camcorders owned were Canon as well as 35mm and digital still cameras. Helps with similarity of menus and controls.

A very happy amateur videographer! Can't wait till next week to try some more footage.
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Old January 12th, 2004, 04:12 AM   #2
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Regarding the color shift, at what setting did you have the white-
balance? An automatic whitebalance *might* work, I would give
it a try.
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Old January 12th, 2004, 10:30 AM   #3
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : Regarding the color shift, at what setting did you have the white-
balance? An automatic whitebalance *might* work, I would give
it a try. -->>>

This worked well for me the last time I used it skiing on trails through the trees.
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Old January 12th, 2004, 08:12 PM   #4
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I did not set the white balance. The manual says it defaults to auto in this situation. Dark blue skies in the shade in the late afternoon resulted in a bluish hue to everything in the video.

This may actually be accurate reproduction as everything does look pretty blue in this situation, but I thought the auto white balance might actually correct this to a more natural color balance. Comments?
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Old January 13th, 2004, 08:48 AM   #5
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Did you use any filters?
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Old January 13th, 2004, 12:30 PM   #6
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Only UV to protect lens.
Planning on using circular polarizer to increase color saturation, enhance blue skies, decrease reflections, and decrease depth of field.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 07:33 AM   #7
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Polarizer might not do much since you are constantly changing
the angle your camera is towards everything. A normal polarizer
might help more, but I'm not sure. Perhaps post a question
in Open DV Discussion forum about using a polarizer for
snow WITH a moving camera.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 10:33 PM   #8
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Thanks Rob,
I had thought about that but in general the camera will be pointed 90 to 130 degrees in the same direction so it may help for some shots. I'm sure I will try to set up for some shots and have the athlete coming towards me when the lighting is right, since I now have a 20X zoom. But I just plan to experiment to see what kind of effects i can acheive, part of the learning process with the new toy. I will take your suggestion and try a post in the Open DV Discussion. I have not visited there yet so I'll try to read some posts first to get the idea of what type of discussions are occurring. Thanks again.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 08:22 PM   #9
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Try out a wide angle lens. You can pretty much just aim your camera at the subject and the wide angle will make sure your subject is always in frame. When I shoot snowboarding I follow the subject extremely closely and shoot with a .3x semi fisheye lens it allows the viewer to be nice and close on the action and still have all the action in the frame. You can also pick up an lcd shade which will cut down on glare and allow you to take quick glances to check out your framing while your bombing down the ski run.
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